For The Beginners

This page provides information and advice on getting into RC flying, Have a read through the information and if you have any questions we are more then happy to help.


Click on the links below for furthur information

So you want to learn to fly R/C aircraft?

CMFC Starter Instructions

Why to start with a trainer aircraft






So you want to learn to fly R/C aircraft?
Where do you start? (In 500 words or less)

The best place is a club where you can gain some experience from members who have been there and stuffed it up before you. Everyone will have had their own experiences so their opinions may be different. Try to take it all on board, ignore them and stuff it up yourself. It’s all in the fun. You’ll find with time there is nothing more enjoyable than watching someone else turn their 300 hours of blood, sweat and beer back into the balsa kit that it came from. Hilarious.

Most people quit 30 seconds after their first aircraft has taken off, to avoid this use an instructor. These poor bastards are the ones at the field with the nervous twitch that jump when trainee pilots approach them. Now days with computer R/C simulators and buddy leads between the instructor and instructed (that’s you) it is getting much easier to learn to fly.

Now you need an aircraft, not that shiny spitfire with retracts and what not. You need a trainer aircraft. These are identified by a high mount wing (wing on top) with large dihedral (wing angles up from centre out) and usually by a tricycle undercarriage (nose and two main wheels). These aircraft are stable and slow and they are the best for training purposes. There is no point buying and aircraft that will take you ages to learn to fly and that you will not be able to find an instructor to fly because their all too scared. You will stack!! It’s best to get it out of your system with a trainer that can handle it. Also when you do finally learn to fly by yourself and want the next step up in planes, it’s much easier to sell a trainer to other potential pilots.

So you don’t want to build a plane? That’s what ARF is all about. Almost ready to fly is creating huge interest in R/C planes, you can have your plane built in a night if your dead keen, but usually 6-10hours of gluing and screwing will see you finished. Kits generally come needing only the wing halves glued together, tail and horizontal stabilizers glued in place, fitment of the engine, servo’s and undercarriage.

Now take your new plane to an instructor for him the check it out, you may have to take it away and do some adjustments or it may take five minutes to set right. It will need about 3 tanks of fuel run through the engine at a rich mixture level to run the engine in. This can be done at your field with help from others.
Then it’s ready for a test flight.
No, not by you, by the instructor, can you see why they twitch now. Once he’s happy that it fly’s as it should your in.

And that’s it. Well almost, you will learn lots of other stuff along the way. Planes, transmitters and engine designs now days are good and getting cheaper, a well maintained plane with start and fly easily.

Have fun and remember, don’t get to serious they are just toys.

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CMFC Starter Instructions

Stick with the trainer aircraft or very similar, the boomerang is a good aircraft but the accessories can be upgraded. Obviously the price for a package will increase to around the $660-$1000 range and upwards but may save you money in the long run.

Supersize me (more power)

The 40LA is no power house. For someone intending to continue onto sports aircraft a bigger engine that can be transferred into the next aircraft could be an idea. The prominent aircraft size on the market is the 40-46 engine size so these are the best size to stick to while learning. (remember if you stack nose in you may trash an engine, but if price in no option…..I’ll continue) What you want is a 46 sport engine, these are usually producing around 1.5 -2 hp range. Examples are the OS46FX, Thunder Tiger PRO46, MDS 48, ENYA 46 and so on. All do the same thing but generally it is better to get a well known engine as other members will be able to help tune it as they will know them inside out. OS 46FX is a good example, there are millions of them out there. These engines are roughly in the $160-$220 range.

Supersize me (more channels)

The FOCUS 4 is a basic 4 channel radio, it is all a trainer needs but there are other options. More channels are required for flaps, retracts, and mixing for other flight control options also dual rates switches are useful for aerobatics. If you want to fly a helicopter you will need at least 5 if not 7 channels with computer mixing. If you want a squadron of aircraft some transmitters have multi memory’s meaning you can use the same transmitter for all your aircraft. Saves money in the long run. Some examples are the JR range, the Quattro has 4 channels but no memory, the TX500 has 5 channels and 2 memory’s (2 planes), the TX631 has 6 channels 3 memory’s and the MAX66 has 6 channels 5 memory’s and is heli compatible.
Also some transmitters are buddy lead compatible and some are not, if you are worried about your flying ability get a buddy lead compatible unit. The cheapest would be the JR Quattro at roughly $300 and up to the MAX66 at $550. But you would have to make sure your instructor also has a JR brand Transmitter, ask him.
If you wanted and all out first up transmitter my personal preference is the JR 3810, it is 3 models types (planes, gliders and helicopters), 8 channels and 10 memory’s (now that’s a squadron). It does all the average modeler would want and more.

Frequencies, make sure you check the CMFC freq list to ensure you get a different one to everybody else. Nothing worse than waiting for other people to land.

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Why to start with a trainer aircraft

I know you want the shiny mustang but let me try and reason with you.
Instructors only have so many scares left in them. Therefore so you don’t wear them out, you will require the easiest aircraft you can fly as a trainer aircraft. As well as this the faster you can go solo, the quicker you will get more flight time because you won’t have to meet with an instructor and you can fly whenever you like.

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Q. How much to take up flying?

A. A basic package will set you back $600

Q. Should I join a club?

A. Yes if you want your $600 to last more than 30seconds.

Q. If an instructor crashes my plane will he buy me a new one?

A. Nup, Sorry but the way it goes is “All care, but no responsibility” the instructor will try his utmost to look after your aircraft but sometimes shit happens.

Q. What is the best size engine to learn with?

A. How deep is your wallet? Generally a 40 to 46 size engine, but remember you can never have to much power;-)

Q. What propeller should I use?

A. On a trainer aircraft a standard size prop for a 40-46 engine is a 10x6. 10inch diameter by 6 inch pitch. More diameter and less pitch 11x5 equals greater acceleration and deceleration and a lower top speed. Less diameter and more pitch 9x7 equals less acceleration and deceleration but higher top speed. The latter is not optimal for a trainer aircraft.

Q. What glow plugs do I use?

A. Standard plug would be an OS A3

Q. What frequency do I use?

A. Check with your club, a frequency that no-one else has means you won’t have to wait around to have a flight. (two cannot use same freq at same time.

Q. How far away can I fly?

A. Your transmitter and receiver will operate for well out of your visual range.

Q. How high can I go?

A. CASA regulations for model aircraft limit you to 300ft. This is generally a lot higher than you would fly.

Q. Should I learn on a simulator first?

A. It is not a requirement, but it does make it easier. The club has a Simulator look here

Q. What fuel is used?

A. The fuel is a mixture of methanol, castor oil or synthetic oil and nitro. This can be purchased at the club. The more nitro the more expensive the fuel, a trainer does not need any nitro but 5% may improve the engines idle.

Q. What batteries should I use?

A. Rechargeable batteries would be cheapest in the long run. Always recharge your batteries before flying.

Q. Can I put a 60 size engine in my trainer?

A. Now your thinking. No!!! You will stuff up the Centre of Gravity and probably tear the tail off the aircraft. But I like your train of thought.

Q. What safety considerations are there?

A.Most accidents are to do with the spinning propeller, keep other people away from the aircraft when starting and flying. Do not fly over the pit area or any person. If it seems dangerous it usually is. Read CMFC field instructions.

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This list is not exhaustive if you have anymore questions ask a CMFC committee member.

(Thanks to Justin for this information)

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